College to add new dorm space

by Brad Russo | 10/27/98 6:00am

The College announced over the summer a new, 80-bed residence hall will be constructed as part of the East Wheelock Cluster to combat a shortage of rooms on campus, but many specific details are still under consideration.

The small dormitory will be built behind the existing cluster where faculty parking is currently located and should be completed by the fall of 2000, acting Dean of Residential Life Mary Liscinsky told The Dartmouth. Construction is scheduled to begin this Summer term.

She said the still-unnamed residence hall will be composed of both singles and doubles in arrangements that mix features of traditional dorms with individual rooms and suites similar to those in the existing East Wheelock residences.

"It was really clear to us that students, while they like privacy, don't want isolation," Liscinsky said.

She said the dormitory will not contain triples, in an effort to attract upperclass students.

While a definite decision on bathroom location has not yet been decided, Liscinsky said "the bathrooms will be part of our effort to balance privacy with community."

The overall dormitory design is also in the preliminary phases with "all different kinds" of designs being discussed, Liscinsky said. She added the building will likely be red brick but will look different from the shape of its neighbors, Andres, Morton and Zimmerman residence halls.

"One of the things that has been a challenge ... is creating a bridge between different types of architecture," she said.

Liscinsky said the new building will also have an above-ground, physical connection to the cluster, to better facilitate social options availability to all residences.

The location was selected because of the availability of land and the original plans for the cluster.

"When East Wheelock was designed it was originally designed with four pods ... so it made sense to put [the dormitory] there," Liscinsky said. The fourth residence hall was never constructed because of fiscal restrictions.

To make room for the cluster addition, faculty parking garages currently located in the space will be removed and the parking replaced, Liscinsky said.

The new residence hall will be funded through existing funds rather than through a new donation to the College.

"At this point we're planning on using some of our residential life money," Liscinsky said.

While she could not release an actual budget range for the building because of ongoing changes in its design, Liscinsky said, "The College wants to do this right and make this a structure that is really wonderful for students, so we have some flexibility."

Liscinsky said the new dorm will participate in the special East Wheelock program, integrating social, academic and residential life, and the architects are considering this when planning the residence hall.

"We really see this as an integral part of East Wheelock," Liscinsky said.

When the designers were on campus in September, they met with the East Wheelock student staff members to gather their ideas for the new dormitory.

"They wanted to know what makes a room more livable," Zimmerman Undergraduate Advisor Amanda Cook '01 said. "We all like having our own bathrooms."

Cook said there was talk about keeping the residence hall separate from the current cluster and giving it its own kitchen, but the students objected.

She also said students did not like the idea of the new dorm looking physically different from its companions within the cluster. "In order to make it feel like a uniform cluster it needs to look like a uniform cluster," Cook said.

She said the group also discussed how to improve student lounges to make them "more conducive to having people hang out there."